Vinyl record sales thrive, thanks to students

Student collectors contribute to keeping record stores in business.

Senior+Clarke+Andros+peeks+inside+a+sleeve+at+his+vinyl+record.+Andros%2C+like+several+other+Biola+students%2C+still+purchase+vinyl+records+despite+being+submerged+in+the+digital+age.+%7C+Courtesy+of+Ky+Sisson
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Vinyl record sales thrive, thanks to students

Senior Clarke Andros peeks inside a sleeve at his vinyl record. Andros, like several other Biola students, still purchase vinyl records despite being submerged in the digital age. | Courtesy of Ky Sisson

Senior Clarke Andros peeks inside a sleeve at his vinyl record. Andros, like several other Biola students, still purchase vinyl records despite being submerged in the digital age. | Courtesy of Ky Sisson

Senior Clarke Andros peeks inside a sleeve at his vinyl record. Andros, like several other Biola students, still purchase vinyl records despite being submerged in the digital age. | Courtesy of Ky Sisson

Senior Clarke Andros peeks inside a sleeve at his vinyl record. Andros, like several other Biola students, still purchase vinyl records despite being submerged in the digital age. | Courtesy of Ky Sisson

Ky Sisson, Writer

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Senior Clarke Andros peeks inside a sleeve at his vinyl record. Andros, like several other Biola students, still purchase vinyl records despite being submerged in the digital age. | Courtesy of Ky Sisson

 

Even in the digital age, senior biblical studies major Clarke Andros buys the obsolete. He is part of the resurgence in vinyl record sales among younger people.

“I buy new records on vinyl because there is so much more that goes into it,” Andros said. “It’s not just a digital file and it’s worth paying more.”

Nielsen Soundscan, a sales tracking system for music in the United States and Canada, projects 5.47 million vinyls will be sold in 2013. This puts vinyl sales up 338 percent in the last seven years.

Steve Sheldon is the president of Rainbo Records in Canoga Park, northwest of Los Angeles. His company manufactures over 25,000 vinyls a day and says the demand for vinyl records is unlike anything they’ve seen in years.

“We were doing about double [in sales] what we were doing two years ago,” Sheldon said. “Since 2008, it’s been multiplying every year.”

RECORDS OFFER WHAT MP3 FILES CANNOT

Sheldon credits the demand for vinyl to those in between the ages of 13 and 25 buying the product. He says because they have grown up on digital media, there is a new desire for physical purchases.

“It’s a tangible item, and they were brought up on virtual everything,” Sheldon said. “I think they are enjoying handling the records, handling the jacket. The artwork on the album cover was always an attraction.”

Andros agrees. He said he enjoys reading through the liner notes included with the album that show the lyrics, musicians and instruments that are in the album. He also likes the album art and often uses it for decoration.

“I love the liner notes,” Andros said. “You can’t get that with an MP3 — well, maybe on Wikipedia, but that’s just not as fun.”

"VINYL HAS BEEN THE SAVIOR FOR US"

Adrienne Pearson has worked at Amoeba Music in Hollywood as a manager for the last 10 years and said she has seen an increase in vinyl sales in the last five years, mostly among the youth.

“Here [at Amoeba] it is really awesome to see a 15-year-old say, ‘Oh, I just got a turntable for my first time, what do I buy?’ and they are extremely excited about it,” Pearson said.

Record labels are also adding incentives to buy vinyl. Included in many new vinyl purchases is an MP3 digital download, something Andros says is a great addition to the vinyl experience.

"Most times I still get an MP3 download with a new record," said Andros. "I can download it digitally and listen to it in my car.”

Talbot student Nick Turner is also an avid collector of vinyls and currently has over 1000 records. He acquired most of the vinyls from his family and started his own collection about 10 years ago. Turner says that he doesn’t buy as many new vinyls today because of the current trend.

“I buy less vinyl now because a bunch of stupid hipsters decided it was now the cool thing to do, so now everyone does it,” said Turner. “The prices of vinyl have soared and collecting isn't as fun anymore. I started in junior high when no one was out buying vinyl.”

With the increase in vinyl record sales, Sheldon said the digital age could not have been more detrimental to his company, but the comeback in vinyls came at the perfect time.

“Vinyl has been the savior for us,” he said. “After 74 years, it was looking pretty bleak with CDs. Our CD sales have dropped about 75 percent since 2008. I was going to scale down the company to a much smaller operation and then these last few years, vinyl has taken off."